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Our First Hybrid HERS Rater Training - How Did We Do?

 
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We just completed our first combined online and in-person home energy rater training class. I've been wanting to do this for a while now because I've suspected that our attempt to buck the industry preference for a 5-day class by doing ours in 8 days was keeping our registration numbers low. At the request of one of the students who signed up for our just-completed class, I made the leap. Wanna know how we did?

12 Resources for Learning & Teaching Building Science

 
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This week at the ACI conference in Detroit, I was part of a session called Speed Dating: Educational Training Tools. It was really fun, with groups of people going to different stations every half hour and getting the scoop on training resources available to them. My job was to show the groups who came to my table web resources. That made it even more fun for me because it meant, unlike J. West, I didn't have to do any preparation! (I also co-moderated a panel on ventilation, with Lstiburek, Francisco, Walker, and other 62.2 members. Look for an article on that next week!)

My First Affordable Comfort Conference

 
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In 2005 I went to my first Affordable Comfort conference, now usually called the ACI national conference or just ACI. The year before I'd gone to the RESNET conference but by 2005, my first business in this industry (ab3 energy) was moving into home performance contracting. I'd just taken a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR class and was trying to learn as much as I could about air sealing, duct sealing, insulation, and running a business in a niche that went against the grain of what most contractors do in homes.

Long Live the One-Week HERS Rater Training!

 
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No, this is not an April Fool's joke (as much as I do like writing them, even when it's not 1 April). We've abandoned our 8-day in-class HERS rater training format. Beginning with our next class, the in-class part will last five and a half days. Did you catch the clue in that last sentence?

4 Smart Building Science Learning Opportunities for You

 
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If you work in the fields of home building, home improvement, or HVAC and want to do the best work you can, you know that you've got to keep learning. Not only is there a tremendous amount to know, but things are always changing. Here are four great opportunities for you to continue your building science education.

Look for Me by the Question Mark

 
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I'm in California this week at the Dry Climate Forum, hanging out with some of my favorite people in the home performance business. Gavin Healy, Dan Perunko, Mike MacFarland, and Rick Chitwood are the ringleaders, but all 6 dozen of us here belong to the same tribe: the tribe of questioners.

A December Building Science Bonanza

 
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Let me drop a few names on you: John Straube, Peter Yost, Scott Pigg, Keith Williams. Impressed? If you know who those folks are, you probably realize how much you could learn from them. If you don't recognize the names, that's an even better reason for you to come to the Better Buildings: Better Business conference in Chicago. Those four guys are some of the top repositories—and creators—of building science knowledge in North America.

A First Sentence to Rival Gabriel García Márquez's Firing Squad

 

"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice." Thus opens Gabriel García Márquez's classic work of literature, One Hundred Years of Solitude. It's the most memorable first sentence of any book I've ever read.

The Importance of Mentoring, in Building Science and in Life

 
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Learning building science—or anything really—takes determination. My friend Jay always tells people when he's teaching them to juggle that picking up that skill takes only two things: wanting to do it and spending time practicing.

Physics Taught Me the Chinese Principle of Success

 
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I flunked my first physics exam in college. Yep. I got a 57% on it. I felt horrible about it because I was a physics major. Despite my dismal start to college physics, however, I did go on to get a doctorate in the field. The secret was figuring out for myself what millions of Chinese people learn from an early age. Here's how it happened.

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